Archive for category Manga

12 Days of Anime (2015) – Day 1 – Imai Kami’s Shoukan! Kengou Gakuen

shoukan_kengou_gakuen-v01-hanyu-juubei-manga_cover-katana-samurai-schoolgirl-serafukuImai Kami’s premier manga, Needless, concluded with Chapter 114 in June of 2013, following a cherished 10 year run. In December 2013, Imai Kami’s other long-running manga of 7 years, Shirasunamura, also concluded. At the time Needless concluded, Kami expressed interest in taking a well-deserved break before returning to draw the latter half of Needless with his planned continuation called Needless 2. However, since that summer, Kami has been quiet as a mangaka, only working on 4koma comics for Arcadia magazine and releasing an art book in 2014. It wasn’t until January 2015 when I discovered that Kami had been working on a new manga in Arcadia magazine, Shoukan! Kengou Gakuen, with the first volume being available in February. Unable to find any useful information online, I waited patiently for the manga to be imported from Japan. Imai Kami’s new manga, Shoukan! Kengou Gakuen will be the focus for Day 1 of my 12 Days of Anime for 2015.

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12 Days of Anime (2014) – Day 1 – Imai Kami Visual Collection and BLACK SPOT Doujinshi

imai_kami_visual_collection-black_spot_doujinshi-art_bookArt books are arguably my favorite item of anime merchandise (of which, I own 18). And Imai Kami is undoubtedly my favorite manga artist. So when the Imai Kami Visual Collection, Nirai Kanai, was announced to be sold in June 2014, I was positively ecstatic. For the first time, there would be a printed compilation of his various works from both Needless and Shirasunamura, as well as other works in magazines and online sources. However, there was a major bonus to this art book that made it even more unique and exceptional among its peers. Since its completion as a doujinshi in 1999, Imai Kami’s first printed work, the 330 page BLACK SPOT, was being reprinted and bundled with the art book. After 15 years, the work that originated Imai Kami’s career and was the foundation and basis for my favorite manga, Needless, was finally available to the public. Without a doubt, the Imai Kami Visual Collection is the best thing to happen to me in 2014.

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12 Days of Anime (2013) – Day 1 – The Final Chapter of Needless, the End to my Favorite Manga and the Tale of my Anime/Manga Revolution

needless-114-adam_neuschwanstein-blade-eve-finale-city-flame-gloves-naked-fanservice-ecchi-sequelOn May 19, 2013, the June issue of Ultra Jump debuted as any normal issue of a mangazine would.  However, this particular issue was noticeably different with an announcement following the 113rd chapter of Needless stating that next month’s chapter would be the final one.  Without any preparation or any proper warning, the sudden and abrupt ending was only a month away.  The announcement began to explain the accelerated pace of the last few chapters and the conclusions of many loose ends, but with so much more remaining and the peculiar developments of late, especially some of the absolutely shocking events in 113, you wondered just how the manga could end with an unfortunate amount of unanswered questions.  But one month later, Needless 114 debuted and so ended the serialization of my favorite manga.

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Needless – Chapter 114 (Finale)

needless-114-everyone-cast_of_characters-color_spread-finale-reunion-cruz-blade-eve-mio-setsuna-kuchinashi-disk-seth-solva-teruyama-saten-aruka-arclight-riru-uten-kafka-gido-kasumi-needless_foreverAnd so, with this final chapter, the first half of Needless comes to a close.

As with any finale, Needless 114 is and will be met with a variety of emotions and reactions among its fans, especially since the manga is ending quite abruptly after 10 years of serialization.  For some, the response might be simple and straightforward, but for many, it will be complicated and conflicting, particularly for those still asking those unanswered questions or wanting just the slightest bit more.  For me, being in the latter group, the Needless finale does leave me with mixed emotions.  On one hand, the developments in these final chapters answered numerous questions, connected many loose story points together, gave the series a conclusion that truly unified the manga, its concepts and its story, and presented it in a way that’s ready to launch Needless into its continuation, Needless 2.  On the other hand, there’s just that lingering sensation of feeling unsatisfied with this culmination, that these final chapters were rushed and that the manga didn’t end the way that it wanted.  Or that it deserved.

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12 Days of Anime (2012) – Day 1 – The Pinnacle of Character Development: Cruz Schild in Needless

needless-56-cruz-setsuna-kuchinashi-yamada-trap-crossdressing-girls_squad-shoujo_butai-comedy-fanserviceEarlier this year, the 100th chapter of Needless debuted, a remarkable milestone for any manga, especially for one that is published monthly.  Not only did the chapter serve as a landmark for the manga itself, but it corresponded with the crowning achievement of the series protagonist, Cruz Schild, commonly known as Yamada.  As Needless has progressed through these past nine years, the story has evolved into one that emphasizes the growth and maturity of its central, most-dynamic character.  It has literally become the story of a boy becoming a man (while dressed as a girl), and the events and adventures over the entire manga easily demonstrate the greatest exhibition of character development that I have ever witnessed in my limited history of anime/manga and is a viable candidate for the greatest of all-time.

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12 Days of Anime (2012) – Day 9 – Subscription to Ultra Jump

ultra_jump-october-jojos_bizarre_adventure-25_year_anniversary-jojolionAs you may already know, I am an avid, enthusiastic follower of the Needless manga and have been since soon after I began watching the anime.  Unfortunately for me, Needless is published monthly in Ultra Jump, a manga magazine that is sold in Japan and not available overseas.  However, after various situations and circumstances, I decided to research my options and learned of way to order a subscription to Ultra Jump despite living outside of Japan.  The outcome of this subscription to a manga magazine has unquestionably influenced how I read and enjoy manga and has allowed me to discover numerous new manga that I now find myself interested in.

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12 Days of Anime (2012) – Day 12 – 13 Hours in Tokyo

Today marks the return of the 12 Days of Anime, the series of posts recounting and detailing the twelve greatest moments, influences or events of the year in regards to my anime/manga life.  Over the next twelve days, ending on Christmas Day, I will have a special post documenting some exceptional and unforgettable thing that happened to me this year in hopes of sharing this cherished memory with you and adding a bit of personal touch that otherwise remains absent from this blog.  Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this tradition and enjoy the fun and celebrations.

japan-2012_03-cherry_blossoms-imperial_gardensIn late 2011, my family was planning a vacation to Thailand, the first trip to Asia in my life.  During the planning stages, I took the initiative to see if we or I could spend some time in Japan either heading in or going home.  Since the Thailand portion of my trip was being paid for, I was informed that this excursion would need to be financed by myself but that I could leave a day early to fit it in.  With these circumstances in place, the only chance at visiting Japan was a 22-hour period between arriving from Bangkok and departing to Seattle.  It didn’t even take me a second to decide nor did I even look at the estimated bill; I leapt at the opportunity and this… this is my adventure:

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